Forest Service IDs 27 million more dead trees this year | SierraSun.com

Forest Service IDs 27 million more dead trees this year

Staff Report
editor@theunion.com

A new aerial survey released by the U.S. Forest Service shows that trees continue to die at a rapid rate in California, according to a release.

Even with record rains last winter and the drought declared over, these dead trees continue to be a public safety hazard near roads, communities and critical infrastructure. With public safety as its top priority, Pacific Gas and Electric Company has committed significant resources to removing trees impacted by drought or bark beetle throughout its service area.

During 2017, PG&E expects to have removed approximately 148,000 dead or dying trees that could threaten its power lines. This is on top of the 1.4 million trees it prunes or removes under its routine vegetation management program each year, according to a release.

The USFS announced it has identified an additional 27 million trees since its last survey in November, 2016, bringing the total since 2010 to 129 million. Members of the Governor’s Tree Mortality Task Force, made up of more than 80 state and federal agencies, local governments, energy companies and others have been working together to address epidemic tree mortality.

In 2018, PG&E’s expanded fuel management work within designated high-fire risk areas will include: reducing vegetation near electric distribution lines; providing access space for emergency responders; maintaining existing fuel breaks and connecting new fuel breaks to existing ones created by other private or public entities; and performing long-term fuel management.

This work may also be conducted in areas previously cleared or impacted by wildfires and is above and beyond state and federal mandated vegetation clearance requirements.

Additionally, PG&E is offering no-cost dead tree clean-up assistance to customers with trees felled by PG&E to protect power lines in 11 counties which have declared tree mortality emergencies. The company also is offering this service to customers in areas impacted by recent wildfires. For more information or to sign up for the program, call 1-800-743-5000.

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Source: Pacific Gas & Electric